Not Dominionism At All
I do not teach dominion theology, and dominion theology is not the theology of the apostolic restoration.
While I did listen to many Reconstructionist Calvinist in the Seventies and Eighties because of their influence upon the Christian Education, pro-life, and society or cultural transformation movements (so-called), I was never a Calvinist or a Theocrat, and I didn’t think we should force citizens to live the Old Testament cultural mores of ancient Israel.
Neither is any member of what is now called the “NAR,” or “New Apostolic Reformation.” Let me pause to say that we have a restoration, but we do not have a Reformation, and the New Era Reformation is about the reconstruction of church-anity toward a restoration of original design and definition of kingdom Ecclesia.
Anyone who knows 15 cents worth of Peter Wagner’s writings and viewpoints recognizes that he was not a pupil of John Rushdonny, Gary North, or Til. He was not a Reconstructionist. He was not a Calvinist. He was not a Dominionist.
I was present in a meeting in Pasadena, California in which we ask Peter about Rushdonny and North. Peter was a true scholar and world-class analyst, author of enough books to stop a fast train if piled up on the tracks. He just shrugged his shoulders and said that he tried to read Rushdonny one time but quit after two or three pages because it was too boring.
Peter was not more a fan, contemporary, or pupil of Rushdonny than squirrels are champions at Rugby. He had no idea what Rushdonny wrote, and he would have been scratching his head at the absurdity of Dominionism had he persevered in reading Rushdonny’s writings.
Rousas John Rushdonny proposed the reinstatement of the Mosaic law’s penal sanctions that would carry some civil crimes a death sentence: homosexuality, adultery, incest, lying about one’s virginity, bestiality, witchcraft, idolatry or apostasy, public blasphemy, false prophesying, kidnapping, rape, and bearing false witness in a capital case.
No one in the apostolic restoration holds these views, and the very few who listened to Rushdonny renounced his conclusions. To put the NAR into that mold or even infer there are similarities reveals the person writing or speaking is ignorant, without insight or informational integrity, and just a lazy critic that discussing things he knows too little about to mention.
Rushdonny and Dominionism have no place in our thinking or discussions of cultural influence. We are not theocrats imposing the Old Testament traffic laws of Moses upon any culture, even the kingdom culture. Such an idea finds no New Testament agreement, nor implementable form in kingdom culture. Just forget the idea that “taking dominion” is a political imposition of Theocracy through the application of cultural principles found in Old Testament Israel.
Forget the idea that Christians would entertain that in the first place. Jesus had no such plan or purpose for His life and ministry.
The Spiritual Kingdom and Kingdom Culture
So, what is the “dominion” of which we speak? Does it have a bearing on natural life and history? Is it so spiritual that it is only available between 10 AM and noon on Sunday mornings? Does it influence the world, or is personal salvation and Lordship expressed in modern forms of church-anity?
And, given this contextualization, at what point do the seven mountains of cultural influence proposed as points of transformation by Francis Schaeffer feel the spiritual power and authority available in the kingdom of God?
In other words, at what point did the reintroduction of this scenario by Bill Bright and Loren Cunningham, not characterized by many people in the leadership of Lance Wallnau, find its way into the New Apostolic Restoration (my term)? And, to what extent does this consideration continue to dominate our strategic thinking in the New Era Reformation.
What do we keep from the apostolic restoration and what do we discard as we move forward?
We begin with an understanding that all things are SpiritFirst in the kingdom of God. No matter what approach we take to societal transformation or whether or not we even take a path to it, we begin with spiritual power and authority. We start with the basics of individual spiritual birth, discipling, calling, gifting, preparation and positioning, and SpiritFirst living and lifestyle within a kingdom culture.
We begin with behavior and culture within a spiritual kingdom to discuss the influence of that culture on existing cultures. We do not start with “christians getting bigger weapons and shooting down the enemies of Jesus.” We do not begin with using the legislatures of human governments to force individual people to follow the kingdom cultural principles, processes, and protocols. We do not ask for invasive, big government overreach or a “now that we are in charge as christians, we will make everyone follow our viewpoints.”
We begin with the integrity of individual believers within a kingdom culture, living a lifestyle in response to the Great Commission mandate: “Train them to obey All I have commanded you (apostles).”
We begin by recognizing that dominion of the King within the individual citizen is the fundamental building-block of the dominion of the King for the corporate kingdom from which an authoritative spiritual legislative, judicial, and administrative Building, Body, and Bride represents the King and His kingdom in the existing culture.
While we have ignored that premise in favor of some miraculous exaggeration of God’s goodness to All, some quick fix formula in which God is so loving that no one can resist Him. We do nothing much at all about the actual strategy of the King because we still hold superstitions of spiritual magic show religion close to our chests.
The Spiritual Kingdom is first and foremost revealed in the lifestyle and culture of the kingdom from which the Ecclesia forms the stature of a mature man that represents Jesus so well it has spiritual influence.
Notice that I have not mentioned the accumulation of beleivers once. Nor have I suggested that the Gospel is about producing a larger nursery of newborn babies.
The New Era Reformation
The New Era Reformation begins with a return to the original design and definition of a kingdom Ecclesia matured from within a kingdom culture that forms in a spiritual kingdom ruled by a very real immortal King.
The New Era is first of all about God doing things differently. I do not mean that God changes or acts differently than He has before but that God acts differently because His kingdom people act differently. I mean that Father functions in seasons. What was sown in the later decades of the previous century will produce a harvest as it reaches maturity in a Remnant of kingdom leaders and citizens.
I am a Biblicist. I believe sola scriptura. The Bible reveals God so we recognize Him when He manifests Himself to us. The Bible reveals “How Things Really Work in the Spirit,” or “How God does stuff,” so we recognize God in His Providence, involved in history.
I believe that God acts now as He has always operated. I do not believe that God disappeared when the Bible was finished. I do not believe that any Scripture says, hints, teaches, or declares dispensationalism’s errors. God continues in the same Providence He has always had.
So, I believe that Jesus has all authority in Heaven and Earth, and He represented on Earth by His spiritual kingdom leaders. I think, in that sense, all citizens are leaders by calling because they are part of His kingdom that provides spiritual leadership for all individuals and cultures. Since that leadership is spiritual, the leadership maturity and function of all citizens is the measure of how they represent Jesus. So, I say, “All believers are leaders.”
I believe the Bible provides the only revelation of kingdom leadership dynamics, and that hammering these revealed dynamics into humanly-formed institutions deforms them.
So, in the New Era Reformation, the original intentions of the King for His kingdom – a kingdom as real, authoritative, functional in the Earth, and representative of Jesus as it ever was – include the restoration of the kingdom leadership dynamics listed in the New Testament. I believe the Bible offers no gasp of surprise about apostle, prophet, teacher, evangel, and shepherd. Not one verse even hints that apostles passed away or prophets stopped prophesying because of some historical marker a dispensationalist dreamed up one night when he had the flu.
If you are sola scriptura, you must be in love with originality, not commentary and systematic gibberish. You have to become a skilled linguistic trapezist to believe what dispensationalists say is Biblical. High flying above the crowd, clinging to a small metal bar, flying back and forth, catching the swing just right to say, “The last apostle died a long time ago when God finished the Bible.”
Not even the book of Concordance can help you prove there is one hint of that in the Bible you claim you believe.
No one now receives revelation that is guaranteed inerrant as Bible. However, God is not quiet or silent. As the Bible record ended, Holy Spirit didn’t go numb and dumb. If that were true, the Bible would tell us that. It does not. (Forget the ridiculous misappropriation of 1 Corinthians 13 for this empty argument. You commit intellectual dishonesty demanded that anyone believe Paul was creating dispensationalism in these verses.)
Jesus didn’t stop doing miracles, signs, and wonders through His representatives just because someone wrote “The End.” The historical record of the Acts of Holy Spirit has no “The End!”
Seven Mountains or Kingdom Gates?
The Seven Mountains of Societal Transformation were not the invention of Bright and Cunningham as much as charismatics would like to think so. These men heard what others heard, but they developed the concepts personally into a structure instead of interpreting, applying, and implementing them as a revelatory insight.
This discussion is not a criticism of the conceptualized illustration of “mountains,” but a “hold on for one moment” appeal to prophetic maturity. To speak of cultural influence is not to start a doctrinal discussion. This is a discussion of apostolic insight received as revelation, calling a spiritual generation approaching a New Era Reformation. “What is coming next must be the context next more than the context of what went before.
In order to see where that illustration – and it is a prophetic illustration without a matching Bible reference, a valid prophetic impression to apostolic leaders – fits into the apostolic restoration – and that is indeed where it can fit, for it can fit no other schematic – we need to see the apostolic in maturity and the kingdom in Reformation.
So, I would offer the discussion a new line of dialogue with an illustration more closely in parallel with Jesus. For, He does not mention mountains. He speaks of gates and keys, strategically-positioned authorities, and ekklesia called together into assembly from gates.
His description is not infiltration but position. From a spiritual view, He reveals a kingdom cultural influence upon the existing culture. He reaches the mention of ekklesia in Matthew 16 and 18 from a life and ministry emphasis of the kingdom of heaven (specific to Matthew’s Gospel). The focus of His message brings Him to this discussion and the followup in chapter 18 points to a kingdom culture. The wording has so little to do with church-anity as we now know it because He speaks of the kingdom. Modern church-anity ignores kingdom.
When Jesus speaks of His original vision, design and definition, culture and strategy, He speaks of a spiritual kingdom with internal leadership strategically positioned by His blueprint expansion of kingdom leadership to determine conditions on Earth that Father predetermined in Heaven since before Creation.
I suggest that we begin to discuss New Era Reformation as kingdom leaders at the gates and Ecclesia within kingdom culture.
- I see no place for “religion” mountain. This is a point of spiritual influence, but it is not one of the gates or mountains. It is the strategically-positioned enemies of the Inheritor of the Inheritance. It is the gates of Hades or the kingdom of Heaven. In other words, it is not one of the critical inputs, and it is the root of the fruit.The illustration of mountains as influences breaks down when we organize the figure in this manner.
- The mountains mentioned have been updated in an American context, to fit developed nations. They recognize the dominating influences of modern cultures, for sure, but that warps the framework through which we see the spiritual roots. That is, the Bible has a different context in which to discuss the spiritual conditions produced by the prevailing spiritual rulers, authorities, and cosmic dominators of a spiritual arena.
- The gates of Hades refers directly to the prevailing spiritual conditions as the kingdom keys refer to the strategic process for altering the culture when kingdom leaders are positioned at the gates. The Mountain of the Lord is the illustration of the kingdom of Heaven influence, and we cannot apply this to the mountains. We can use it to the gates scenario because Jesus begins the discussion of gates, keys, kingdom, expanding influence, and ekklesia with this Rock: “Who am I? So, Jesus uses a different metaphoric structure to reveal His strategy once Father reveals who He is. This is a Mountain of the Lord discussion. Jesus does not fit the religion mountain or rule it. It declines and disappears as He becomes the more significant influence.
- Gates and kingdom keys reveal the ekklesia strategy. So, if we wish to identify the entry and exit points through which kingdom leaders gain influence and the ekklesia displaces the strategically-positioned authorities of Hades, we should apply the mountains illustration to the gates metaphor.I can see why God would mention mountains to Schaeffer since he lived in a mountainous region. I can see why the illustration of mountains was given to men who were in mountainous terrains at the time of the revealing. That makes perfect sense.
However, we have gone to seed on the illustration, and illustrations do not walk on all fours. (Please, forgive the mixed metaphors.)
In the New Era, I propose we develop a strategy for the kingdom, kingdom culture, kingdom leadership dynamics, kingdom keys, and kingdom leaders at the gates.
- This points moderns back to the Bible. It calls for exegesis of Scripture. It calls for research into Bible languages. It asks us to put the words back into the mouth of Jesus and hear Him talk to us about His vision and viewpoint.
- It helps us avoid the deadly trap of church growthism. That context destroys the original design and definition so entirely that we embrace illustrations that do not lead us back to Bible working, phrasing, thinking, and metaphoric expressions.
- Gates illustrate the spiritual reality better than mountains. We do not throw out the mountains illustration anymore than we would any other revelatory insight. We do not allow it to become the overarching framework for understanding kingdom culture and its influence.
- Finally, we will be forced to discuss the restoration of the kingdom culture. If we do not have a kingdom culture, we cannot influence existing culture. It is not a miraculous spiritual event we seek. It is a process involving spiritual generations living kingdom culture that answers to the kingdom leaders at the gates scenario.
Jesus says, “I will build – construction from blueprint design, an oikos, household, or lineage as much as a building – My Ecclesia – from that expanding lineage or oikos, a spiritual matrix (He is certainly not referring to an edifice!) – that displaces by overcoming the resistance (inferred by the visualization of the meaning of words He uses, the positive result of the negative) – the strategically positioned authorities – “gates” representing the position from which authorities govern a polis regionally – of hades, or death, or My enemies. I give you kingdom keys – I have them, but I give them to you – and you will bless, expand, allow, release what has already been blessed, expanded, allowed, and released in Heaven and you will curse, limit, disallow, bind what has already been cursed, limited, disallowed, bound in Heaven.”
So, this is the influence of Heaven upon Earth through the influence of kingdom culture that displacing the existing spiritual authorities dominating the current culture exercising spiritual authority in ways specific to the existing culture through the consistently maintained integrity of the kingdom culture.